LONDON — It’s 2 p.m. and at Loungelover — the latest from Hassan Abdullah, Michel Lassere and Stefan Karlson of Les Trois Garçons restaurant — the staff are scurrying around to light chandeliers and straighten the 18th century furniture, while Abdullah pulls back an antique gate that once belonged to a Parisian butcher shop and now sections off a private room in the bar.
Like Les Trois Garçons, which opened almost three years ago across the street, Loungelover serves drinks, bar food and dinner in London’s East End, and is a visual delight. It’s a place the trio admits they opened for selfish reasons. “In this area it’s all student-y with cigarette butts on the floor,” says Abdullah, who lives with Lassere and Karlson and a parrot called Jack in an apartment above Les Trois Garçons. “I wanted to create a space that I and others like me would love being in.”
This story first appeared in the June 19, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Of course, Abdullah’s customers love his spaces so much they want to take them home. A customer once offered him $33,000 for a blue crystal chandelier that hung in the restaurant. And diners at the new spot, which opened two months ago, are sure to find plenty to love while lounging.
Abdullah estimates spending $750,000 furnishing Loungelover with long banquet tables and special items from France, Sweden and Italy including white leather chairs from the set of the Bond film “Dr. No,” an Art Deco coffee table and a kitsch chandelier in the shape of a palm tree. The trio offset the cost with hard labor, converting the 3,000- square-foot meatpacking factory to a club themselves.
“If I love a piece of furniture, I have to have it, and that kind of impulse can be expensive,” says Abdullah. “I often buy things without knowing where they’ll end up, so I store them until I know. I also hate for places to get stale. It’s good to change things around, to be able to bring in something different.”
Of course, his stash of stunning antiques will come in handy. Abdullah has just found the place to open his own antique store, Solaris, and aside from designing the homes of personal clients, he’s currently renovating part of the Liberty department store and the interior of the new four-story Evisu store in Paris.
Still, Abdullah swears he doesn’t keep all the really good stuff for himself. Like a woman in the right dress, he muses, “A place should wear the right furniture.”